Kids just wanna have fun.
Ontario Tourism offers a "sand-bucket list" of 15 "eye-opening, adrenalin-rushing, imagination-boggling adventures that kids just have to experience by the time they turn 15."
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – Zipline. Long Point Eco-Adventures, Turkey Point: Glide through trees and swing on suspension bridges on a thrilling zipline and canopy tour. The adventure includes eight ziplines, two suspension skybridges, 14 platforms and a 40-foot rappel. For ages eight and older. www.lpfun.ca
Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls: Get ready for the weird, wacky and wonderful at this amusement mecca. Be spooked at haunted houses, play glow-in-the-dark mini-golf or see life-like celebrities at wax museum.
Go wild! African Lion Safari, Cambridge: Drive the kids wild as you get up close to thousands of exotic birds and animals. Steer your vehicle through large game reserves, enjoy a boat cruise on the African Queen or relax aboard a scenic railway.
Elora Gorge tubing: Grab a tube and go with the flow down the rushing waters of this Grand River gorge surrounded by towering cliffs. It’s an awesome experience for the older kids – participants must be at least 107 cm (42 in.) tall.
Joyride 150, Markham: Check out Canada’s first indoor all-season, multi-discipline bike park. Beginners, intermediates and those with "mad-bike skills" will find a range of skinnies, lines and ramps to match different abilities.
To the bat cave – The Bat Cave, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto: Explore a simulated bat cave based on a real one found near Kingston, Jamaica. Experience a spectacular dramatization of bats in flight during a nightly exodus for food.
Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Midland: Travel back in time to this recreated 17th-century French Jesuit mission to the Huron people. Take part in a hands-on interactive tour led by costumed interpreters.
Warsaw Caves: Take the kids underground and explore caves formed thousands of years ago and discover fossils of prehistoric sea life. Then go for a swim and have a picnic nearby at Selwyn Beach and enjoy a paddling expedition on the gentle Indian River, with camping overnight at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area.
Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg: Transport the family to the 1860s and learn just how different life was for Canadian pioneers. See the cheese maker and broom maker ply their trades or watch a cobbler make a pair of shoes.
Calypso Theme Waterpark, Limoges: Get wet at Canada’s largest themed water park with slides and rides for kids of every age. Make a splash at the toddler-friendly Zoo Lagoon or at the Pirate’s Aquaplay for older kids. For teens, choices include North America’s highest free-standing waterslide tower.
Raft, soar and swing – Whitewater rafting, Pembroke: Experience the thrill of a family whitewater adventure along the Ottawa and Madawaska rivers. See spectacular scenery and wildlife, learn about ancient Aboriginal portage routes and stop for a riverside picnic. (www.owl-mkc.ca, www.riverrunrafting.com, www.wildernesstours.com)
Eaglecrest Aerial Park, Bracebridge: Release your inner eagle and soar through the trees at the highest adventure course in Ontario. Tackle the beginner to intermediate courses that offer monkey lines, flippy bridges and walking cables.
Cedar Meadows Wilderness Park, Timmins: Meet a majestic moose and a sure-footed mountain goat. Get up close to the wildlife at the 70-hectare (175-acre) forest area. Three daily tours offer a chance to see animals from the Northern Ontario wilderness.
Tree Top Adventures, Goulais River, near Sault Ste. Marie: Get comfortable with a pre-climbing orientation, then swing like Tarzan at this exhilarating treetop obstacle course. Climb ladders and rock walls and navigate wobbly bridges and swinging logs.
Fly-in Fishing Adventures, Northwestern Ontario: Take a family fishing vacation like no other and hop aboard a float plane to a remote fishing lodge. Fish for walleye, northern pike and lake trout. (www.ontariossunsetcountry.ca, www.great-fishing.com)
Here’s the deal:
The 2012 Fun Pass, distributed in schools this month, offers kids free admission to 21 Ontario attractions when accompanied by a paying adult or senior, said Luanne Walker of Ontario Tourism. Families can also use the pass to save $2 on a daily parking permit at Ontario Parks. www.ontario.ca/funpass. There are deals in the free Attractions Ontario Passport Magazine and Coupon Book available at travel centres or by calling 1-800-ONTARIO.
For more family fun information: www.ontariotravel.net/family